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Preston and South Ribble coronavirus infection rates reach new low as Chorley sees a rise and pupils will still need face masks during secondary school return

Posted on - 6th April, 2021 - 8:47pm | Author - | Posted in - Education, Fylde News, Health, Politics, Preston News, Ribble Valley News, Schools, South Ribble News, Wyre News
Preston's coronavirus vaccination centre in Tithebarn Street Pic: Blog Preston
Preston’s coronavirus vaccination centre in Tithebarn Street Pic: Blog Preston

Preston’s coronavirus infection rate has dropped away considerably and is now well below 100 cases per 100,000 people.

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Latest cases for Tuesday (6 April) show the city recorded six new cases.

South Ribble recorded five new coronavirus cases for the same day.

Wyre was up by four cases, Fylde just two, Chorley by three and Ribble Valley by just one case.

Preston’s Covid-19 infection rate is now 76.9 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to April 2, down from 105.5 cases per 100,000 people for the seven days to March 26.

See the latest coronavirus cases and information near you

Data for the most recent four days (April 3-6) has been excluded as it is incomplete and does not reflect the true number of cases.

South Ribble’s rate is now 36.1, down from 64.1 for the same two date periods as Preston.

Wyre’s rate is now 13.4, down from 41 and Fylde is at 14.9, down from 55.7.

Chorley’s infection rate has increased ever so slightly to 67.7, up from 66 and Ribble Valley’s rate was down to 39.4, from 57.5.

Read more: Nine areas in Preston and South Ribble recorded fewer than three Covid cases in final week of March

Pupils to continue wearing face masks in secondary schools and college classrooms after Easter holidays

Secondary school and college pupils in England will need to continue wearing face masks in class when they return after Easter, the Government has said.

It is hoped the precautionary measure will help limit the risk of transmission.

The move came after five education union leaders called on ministers not to “rush into” removing face coverings from classrooms after Easter without careful consideration of the scientific evidence.

The Department for Education (DfE) expects face coverings to no longer be required in classrooms when further easing of social contact limits indoors are confirmed in England, which will be no earlier than May 17.

Any changes to the policy will be confirmed with one week’s notice following a review of the latest data on infection and vaccination rates, the DfE said.

Secondary school and college pupils have been advised to wear face masks wherever social distancing cannot be maintained, including in class, since March 8, but ministers said the policy would be reviewed.

The latest review of scientific evidence found that – when used correctly – face masks in schools and colleges can reduce the emission of virus-carrying particles when worn by an infected user, alongside rapid tests.

Secondary school and college pupils were asked to take voluntary Covid-19 tests on site over the first fortnight of returning to class.

Now they are being sent home-testing kits to use twice weekly.

Read more: How Preston and South Ribble’s Covid rates changed during March

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Schools and students have done a great job adapting to Covid-secure guidance and working hard to make sure it doesn’t impact learning.

“We obviously all want to get back to facemask-free classrooms and we will do this in line with the latest scientific data while balancing the interests of students, teachers and the wider community.”

Those who are currently exempt from wearing face masks will remain so, including pupils and teachers who are speaking to, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip-reading or facial expression to communicate.

Jon Richards, head of education at Unison, said: “Wearing face coverings isn’t ideal, but they’re a valuable safety measure and will be needed for a while longer to allow schools to stay open.

“Keeping staff, pupils and their families safe and stopping wider infection spread is the most important thing. Any further decisions must be made according to the infection data, rather than dates.”

Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

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